Thursday, February 24, 2005

Presidents' Day Holiday Weekend in Review

by Dave Schmitt, KankaNation Guest Columnist

This past weekend, I felt, was worthy of a Weekend in Review. It was the Presidents’ Day Holiday Weekend, which is exciting, because I love President Bush. I know it’s not his holiday, but still.... Washington and Lincoln weren’t bad, either. There’s an excellent new biography out right now on Washington called His Excellency by Joseph Ellis. It’s a great read, only about 250 pages. On to the weekend....

Friday night after work, Ellen, Brian Campbell, my friend Sabina and I headed down to McSorley’s Ale House in somewhat-downtown Manhattan. You may have heard of McSorley’s as the oldest bar in New York (in continuous existence). It’s quite the experience. Loyal KankaManiacs would love it. It’s a complete dive that looks like it hasn’t been cleaned since the 1800’s. Sawdust is all over the ground, the mustard on each table is in a glass instead of a standard mustard jar, there are old maps all over the wall, and lots of drunk Irish guys yelling at random times. Now, you can only order 2 types of drinks here: light or dark. No mixed drinks, no bottled beers. Light beer or dark beer, made right there. The beers are $2 each, and the waiter (and by waiter I mean drunk Irish guy standing next to the bar) brings them to you 2 at a time. So I guess they cost $4? Excellent brews. The glasses are smaller than regular pint glasses, so you just keep ordering rounds and throwing down beers without having to spend hours deciding what to drink (which helps things when Ellen’s involved). Seeing as it was a Lenten Friday, we all ordered fish & chips, which was pretty good. After 2 hours at this place, everyone was pretty drunk. Sabina still wasn’t sober when she got back to the train station, so her mom had to pick her up. Ellen passed out on the train. Good times all around.

Saturday was a day-night doubleheader of Big East sports action. First, Ellen and I attended the Rutgers-Notre Dame women’s basketball game, which was played under the rules of “no blood, no foul.” Rutgers has some tough-looking girls, presumably from the streets of Newark, who kept blatantly knocking over Megan Duffy and not getting called for any fouls. Ugly, ugly game, double-digit ND loss. I was pretty impressed with the RAC, though, as they got just about a full house. Little Friend Caitlin (manager) was too busy to really stop and chat, so we may try to harass her again next week at Seton Hall.

The nightcap was the Big East Men’s & Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships from Eisenhower Park (on Long Island, by Nassau Coliseum). So soon after returning from the game, we got in Ellen’s car (actually, her mom’s car, for reasons which are beyond my comprehension) and drove to LI. To give you an idea of how exciting swim meets are, the first 2 events were 1,650 meters each – about 16 minutes of back-and-forth apiece. Yikes. But after that, it got easier to handle, and the platform diving amused me. Both ND teams won the team titles, and both coaches won Coach of the Year. It was the women’s 9th win in a row, and the men’s first ever. Ellen was having a freak-out attack because she LUUUUVS Tim, the men’s coach (he loves the Pope and cowboys). So it was a very exciting night for Ellen. After leaving the pool around 10, and realizing we hadn’t eaten dinner, we met Sabina and Vino at a diner.

The next two days did not really consist of anything that would amuse KankaNation.

Coming up next: because of a scheduling conflict, in lieu of a running diary of the men’s Big East basketball tourney, we will be a doing an international edition of Weekend in Review, starring me, Ellen, Molly who Kanka’s only seen sober that one time she was working at Recker’s, and my brother, from London. Look for it around March 18 or so.

Editor's note: I'll be back next week with the AL East preview.